Thursday, 23 January 2020

Elf Things

It's the third week of January and I've yet to complete a model this year. After being so massively productive last year, this feels very unnatural to me.

Luckily this state of affairs shouldn't last much longer. I'm in the final stages of preparing my Mirkwood army for my mate's event at the end of next week. I've got a dozen Elves in various stages of near-completion including a couple of conversions which I'm quite proud of:

I made my own version of the Mirkwood Cavalry model to better tie in with the Ranger theme which I'm going for with this army. I know it's not the best of pics, but I'll show them off more once I've got everything finished. 

They were really simple to make. All I did was splice together the plastic Ranger models with some Riders of Rohan. Simple but effective I think!

I've also started working on something which I've never done before: a display board.

As I've never really played in many gaming events before I started SBG, there's never been much call for me to make one before. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do that though. The small size of the army means it doesn't have to be particularly big. In fact to give you an idea of scale, I used an old placemat as a baseboard for it!

This is also my slightly sneaky way to try and get a shoe-in for best painted. I'm really proud of how well I've painted the army, but it's very small. Hopefully this way it'll stand out more!

Regardless I'm really looking forward to finishing this up. It's a very different project to the army painting I normally focus on, so I'll be a fun little break. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Slow start to the year. Plus Ghosts.

It's been a ridiculously busy start of the year for me. Prep for Pokemon Regionals has consumed so much of my free time, I've hardly done any hobby since the new year. What little I've done has just been adding layers and washes to a couple of Mirkwood Elves. Nothing too interesting.

I did have a moment of weakness though and bought a copy of the new Mortal Realms magazine. I have zero interest in starting Age of Sigmar, but I can see great potential for mounting them on square bases to create a Spirit-themed Vampire Counts army for Fantasy.

Thirty minutes locating my stash of square bases and assembling the ghosts later and I had this:

That works pretty well I reckon. Even though the models were made for Sigmar, they rank up rather neatly. I had to jiggle them a little for the more flamboyant poses, but it works. 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went back and cleared out my local newsagents! 

Yes it smashes apart my painting progress, but at £2.99 a pop, I couldn't really say no. That's two big units of 'counts as' Skeletons for about £25, more than enough to fill out my Core. 

Luckily these should be fairly quick to knock out. The Contrast paints were literally made for this kind of project. I've a few ideas knocking about to make use of the Sigmarines as well, but I'll get back to you on that when I've had a proper think. 

That's really it for now. I should get a bit more done soon, now Regionals aren't looming and work's gone quiet again. Until next time, happy gaming! 

Monday, 6 January 2020

2019 into 2020: a slightly late New Year post.

 Happy New Year to everyone!

I've been away from blogging for a few months, mostly because of lack of reliable internet. It's been really frustrating, but I'm back now though and I figured I'd do a quick year review post and talk about my plans for 2020. I was hoping to get this out before the new year, but life gets inconveniently busy over the holidays unfortunately, so I'm sure you'll forgive the untimely nature of this post.

Overall I feel it's been a really fantastic year, both personally and hobby-wise. I've travelled around quite a bit this year, met some amazing people (both in and out of the gaming community) and generally had a pretty good time.

In terms of hobby, not only have I played some fantastic games, I've also managed to stick to 90% of the goals I set for myself back in January and achieve an ambition which I've had ever since I was twelve!

I'm referring of course to my adventures in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. Anyone who actualy pays attentions to my 'games played' sidebar will realise that I've been playing an awful lot of it this year. I've always something which I've wanted to do, having been a Tolkien nerd since an early age and been fascinated by the LOTR sections in the back of old White Dwarf magazines. There's never been a group near me who played it though, so I haven't been able to jump into the game.

 That changed back in January when I met Shaun through my local gaming shop. He's been a prominent member of the SBG community for years and it didn't take long for him to draw me in too. A single demo game was all it took!

I've found the LOTR/Hobbit community so friendly and welcoming, I feel I've really found my hobby happy place. That's probably the biggest reason why Middle Earth projects have made up the vast majority of the frankly ridiculous amount of painting which I've done this year. It's almost scary how easy it is to slip into a new army project when playing that system, something which I really should work harder to keep a lid on this year.

To give you an idea, this is a photo of all the Middle Earth miniatures which I've completed since February:

Those were on top of the various 40k and other projects I've completed, making for a grand total of 585 painting points earned across the year!

In fact I've been so productive that for a brief, shining moment, I actually broke into positive painting figures- something which I thought would never happen! The arrival of my Mirkwood army shattered that moment, but it's something that actually happened, abeit briefly and my hobby backlog is certainly a lot more managable now than it's ever been.

The only downside is that between all that painting and real life stuff happening, I've somewhat let blogging fall by the wayside this year. It's a shame because with 2019 being the most productive hobby year I've had for a long time, this should have been reflected in my blogging output, but in fact it was the quietest year on the Wandering Mind since I started it in 2009.

It's a situation which I'm determined to resolve going into 2020. I find blogging about my hobby really rewarding. If nothing else, it's a record of what I've done. I also love sharing my work with the world, even if not many people actually see it. I think part of the reason it's fallen off is that Facebook groups are far easier to post and share my work to these days. Doing that is nowhere near as satisfying though, Hopefully 2020 will be the year I finally get back to a more or less regular posting schedule.

Ok, now I've wittered on a bit, you're probably wondering: What are my plans for the coming year?
Well I'm glad you (hypothetically) asked:

 I don't really have any big new projects lined up got this year. With fully painted armies ready to go for each of the major systems I play, I'm in a pretty good place. I've got nothing huge looming which I need to tackle, but I've got a couple of ideas on where I want to go from here.

I think I'm initially just going to focus one finishing up projects I've already got going but gotten distracted from. The main ones I can think of right now are:

1. Mirkwood Elves

I need 333 points of these done for an event Shaun is holding at the start of February. Luckily I only need 13 models and I have 7 of those finished already, so this should be pretty quick to do.

I'm particularly proud of how my Rangers are shaping up for that force:

They're a bit more vibrant that most Wood Elves you see, something which was very much deliberate. Pretty much every Mirkwood force I've seen painted so far has a very muted pallete, which in turn makes the army look boring as hell to look at on the table. Don't get me wrong, I understand why people have made thos choices, it's just not what I want for my Wood Elves.

After getting the event army done I'll probably expand the force out 700-800pts at some point. I got Thranduil and some Armoured Elves for Christmas so they've gone on my painting list too, but they're not nearly as urgent, so I'll get around to them at some point. 

2. Nurgle Odds and End

I promised a friend of mine last year I'd paint up a load of his Death Guard and Nurgle Deamons, but with one thing and another I kept getting distracted. 

These are going to be tackled in early 2020 as fairly high priority, probably starting with a massive blob of Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers. Wish me luck!

3. Mordor Terrain 

If you've been paying attention to the few posts which I made this year, you'll realise this is another project I got majorly distracted from in 2019. I bought a box of Warcry terrain intending to turn it into a Mordor themed board, but then I had to finish off my Corsairs for an event, then got distracted even further by Mirkwood.

I want to get this done and dusted in the next couple of months so I can have a Middle Earth board to play on at home. Most of my home terrain is 40k-based with lots of city ruins, rubble and industrial gubbins - not exactly evocative of the grandeur of Middle Earth. Considering that SBG is rapidly becoming the main system which I play, this will enhance my play experience immensely!

That should leave me a bit of time to return to a project which I abandoned a couple of years ago:

 4. Fantasy Dark Elves

This is something which isn't really a priority but I'm wanting to weave between my other projects this year. 

The Old World announcement from GW a couple of months back has gotten me pretty excited for the return of square bases in some form. With this in mind, I figure I should get my Druchii finished ready to play with for when it eventually comes. I first bought my Dark Elves back in 2009, so I think it's high time I actually finished them to a good standard. I also have a couple of friends who are keen to dust off their old armies too, so even if these rumblings of the return of the Old World don't amount to much, it'll be good to play a few games of Fantasy again.

On top of that, I've got friend who's hinting at gifting me his old Orcs and Wood Elves, so there's a possibility that there's that to look out for at some point in 2020 too. As if I don't have enough projects to be getting on with!

So there you go, that's my slightly rambling review of 2019 done and dusted, along with a quick look ahead at 2020. With the blog going dark for so long, it felt pretty good to be able to return with quite a chunky post for people to sink their teeth into. Hopefully I can keep up the writing habit this year, but as ever we'll have to see.

Happy New Year once again. I hope you all have a great year both in and out of the hobby!